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What began in 2006 as a folkie solo project for singer/guitarist Meric Long (under the billing Dodobird) has evolved into the San Francisco guitar-and-drums duo The Dodos, which also features Logan Kroeber.

* A different beat: While working on a paper in school about the history of American popular music, Long became interested in West African Ewe drumming.
“I had a friend who hooked me up with this Ewe drum master at Cal Arts in Valencia, Calif. We’d meet for a few hours, and he’d teach me the basic parts for each instrument. It was really hard to learn. I still know very little, but it really blew my brains for a year. I got a C on the paper.”

* He’ll drink to that: Long met drummer and Dodos partner Kroeber through a roommate.
“I asked him to come play ‘a drum’ for a couple songs at a show. [Sometime after that] I was going up to Portland [Oregon] to record our first LP, Beware of the Maniacs, and on a drunken walk home from work, I called him and asked him to come record with me.”

* Finding their sound and common ground: Prior to hooking up with Long, Kroeber had been experimenting with progressive metal drumming.
“Logan’s set started as just one drum, and it slowly grew to what it is now. I’d say that once we got a rehearsal space, which was in June of 2006, things started to come together because we had the freedom to play loud and long hours.”

*The moment it all clicked: The song “The Ball.”
“We both came to practice with the same beat bubbling through our brains all day at work. We started playing and that song just sort of popped out.”

* The road to Visiter: Songs for the latest Dodos album, due March 18 on Frenchkiss, were written while on tour.
“There can be so much downtime while touring that it’s pretty easy to want to respond to everything around you. You can start to feel like a robot if you just play the same songs every night without trying to create something new.”

— Introduction and interview by Chris M. Junior

The Dodos at SXSW ’08 (schedule subject to change):

* March 12: Frenchkiss showcase
* March 13: American Songwriter day party
* March 14: Hot Freaks! day party
* March 15: SFxSXSW day party